Dear GNS Families,
Rabbi Elimelech Biderman quoted this week that the Ropshitzer Rav, Rav Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz, once watched a stuntman jump off the roof of a three-story house and land safely on his feet. The Ropshitzer Rav asked him how he managed to accomplish such a feat. The stuntman showed him a very thin, transparent rope that hung from the roof to the ground. He didn’t really jump off the roof. He slid down the rope, to the ground. This story is a reminder that there are strings attached. Everything people do below is caused by the strings that are being pulled from Above.
The letter “א” represents the idea that everything that happens in this world is directed and planned by Hashem from Above. This is because the way that the letter “א” is formed is by combining three letters together: a “י” on top, a “י” below, and a “ו” that connects them. The Baal HaTanya taught that the “י” above alludes to Hashem, the “י” below is this world. The connecting “ו” symbolizes that everything that happens in this world is from Hashem Above.
As we begin Sefer Vayikra, the Olam HaKarbanot, and look to find meaning in the Torah’s description of the sacrifices, we engage in our ever-continuing march to come “karov”, closer and closer to Hashem. The goal of a korban is clear. The closer we get to Hashem, the more humility we are able to inculcate within our lives and the best version of ourselves can be accessed more easily.
In the town of Peshischa, there was a tailor who enjoyed an excellent reputation. The clothing he sewed was slightly more expensive than those of the other tailors, but people paid the extra money, to get his better-quality clothing.
The poritz (landlord) heard everyone praising this Jewish tailor, so he asked him to sew him a suit. “I will pay you well. Just make certain you do a good job.” “Can I make something that isn’t good?” the tailor replied.
A week later, the tailor brought the suit to the poritz, proudly holding it in his hands. The poritz frowned. “This isn’t what I had in mind. I’ll ask my wife.” The poritz’s wife said, “I can’t even look at it. It simply doesn’t have any chein (charm).”
People started saying, “The poritz understands quality. If he doesn’t like the tailor’s work, it must be the garments aren’t as special as we thought they were.” They stopped coming to him. The tailor was losing business, and he felt humiliated. He told all of this to Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa. The Rebbe advised him, “Undo the seams of the suit, and sew it up again – exactly as before. This time, the poritz and his wife will like it.”
The tailor followed his Rebbe’s counsel, though it didn’t make any sense. Why should they like the suit this time, if they didn’t like it before? But he trusted his Rebbe and followed his advice.
When the poritz saw the new suit, he said, “Now this is the type of suit I like.” He showed it to his wife, who was very happy with it as well. Why did the poritz and his wife change their mind? Rebbe Bunim explained to the tailor, “It states (Mishlei 3:34), ‘Hashem gives chein to the humble.’ When you made the suit the first time, you were arrogant, therefore the poritz and his wife didn’t like it. The second suit was made after you suffered shame and humiliation. Something produced with humility contains chein.”
Our humility allows for our inner chein, grace, to be seen in its most absolute form. That grace facilitates our growth in coming closer to Hashem.
Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Lichter & Family